[Bronze Sculpture by Tom Otterness displayed at Western Washington University, Photo by Geri E. Forsberg]
Do you ever feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Sometimes I do.
As a professor, there are classes to prepare, students to teach, papers to grade, faculty meetings to attend, research to do, papers to write, publishing to accomplish; not to mention the dinners to cook, the house to clean, the laundry to wash—and the list goes on. It makes me tired just thinking about it. But it isn’t just all the things we have to do that weigh us down. Our experiences in life also have a way of placing the weight of the world on our shoulders.
The Apostle Paul felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. Paul communicates his distress, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1: 8)
In the book of Samuel, we learn how David was under the heavy burden of a tragic event. A city had been burned to the ground and the people taken captive. The people who remained wanted to stone him. But the Bible says that David “felt strengthened in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6).
When I feel overwhelmed and despairing, I try to follow the examples of those in Scripture who turned to God for their strength. I want to rely on God’s strength, not my own. This is not easy as I am used to being independent. But God’s Word encourages me to choose to run to Jesus. The Lord knew we would be overwhelmed, tired, and burdened and He wants us to come to Him. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…My burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
When I am feeling under the weight of the world, I actively choose to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, not my own power, as I seek to faithfully interact and communicate with those around me. I have learned that when the Holy Spirit empowers me and strengthens me, I can truly be Christ’s light in the university—with my students and colleagues. The Bible says that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us; and we shall be “Christ’s witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
My desire as a professor is to be light in the darkness. To be Christ’s light in the university, I need to daily come out from under the weight of the world.
If you are feeling the weight of the world, I encourage you to run to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit empower you.
Reflection: Are you feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, burdened by the weight you are carrying? These are all feelings that are common to being human. Can you take these burdens and lay them at the feet of Jesus? How do such feelings influence the way you communicate with others?
Today’s Challenge: Go to God’s Word today to be refreshed by Him. Read Mark 10:27; Philippians 1:6 and 4:7; Psalm 37:23-24; Luke 12:32; and meditate on these verses. Let the Lord bring you out from the weight of the world.